Registered: 1210124003 Posts: 3
I lost my 12 year old cat on Monday April 28th. Her name was M.K. She was diagnosed with kidney failure only 5 days earlier and did not respond well to fluid therapy due to a heart murmur. Our last few hours together were tough but I got to be with her at home, hold her and tell her I loved her a million times before I had her put to sleep. I was incredibly lucky to have the most compassionate vet on the planet and am grateful of the time I had with my kitty. Her death was peaceful.
I was as prepared as I could be for it, I knew from the second she was diagnosed that our time together would be short. We did everything we could but ultimately her heart could not take it. After she was diagnosed and I knew the end was near I tried to accept it before it happened, I read a book about pet loss, I cried constantly, did not remove myself from the couch and refused to eat. It was harder for me when she was sick than it has been since her death. I miss her and I still don't believe she's gone, which scares me because I read that the disbelief stage would only last a few days. I still see her, hear her and reach to pet her when I normally would. The routine is hard to change. The main problem I am having is with her stuff. It has been 8 days since her death and I still have her food and water dish out. She had a kitty placemat with her bowls on it and they are still out and I cant touch them. I came home from work one day last week and my boyfriend had taken the water bowl and washed it and had it in the dish drainer to dry. I was a little upset and put the empty bowl back. She ate canned food as well and had many dishes all of which have been washed and are sitting on the counter. Because she was sick she had a lot of medicines. That same day that boyfriend put her bowl up to dry, he also took all of her medicines and her purr pad and put it in her carrier and put her carrier back up on the shelf. I have a six foot cat tower that obviously isnt going anywhere but inside the tower are gobs of toys, I also have a cardboard scratcher pad and a catnip mouse. I also found one of her whiskers a couple days ago. Of course her litter box is still in the laundry room. The blanket that I held her in when she died, I sleep with everynight. I am concerned that I am stuck in disbelief stage. I know shes gone, I know she is never coming home. I know I have to pick up her ashes when they are ready. I have sympathy cards and flowers on my table. But I can't pick up her food dish and throw her dry food away. I have her treats in the cabinet. I just want to give her treats one more time. Please let me know how you deal with your pets things, what you do with leftover food, medicine, treats, toys, etc. I have no idea how to deal with this part of it.
Registered: 1194492978 Posts: 5,100
Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your precious kitty, M.K. Everyone's grief is different, and your behavior is certainly within the range of what is considered perfectly normal. You only lost M.K. about one week ago, which is not long at all. I have a friend who lost his dog and could not pick up the dog bowls for six months. You are not "stuck" in any particular stage. Grief is very, very personal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, just as there is no right or wrong duration of grief. Some people grieve intensely for one week, then start to heal. Some people grieve intensely for months. A small proportion of people never really heal, but they are in the minority.
So, please, just give yourself some time. Your loss is still SO NEW. Take all the time you need to put M.K.'s things away, and don't rush. There is no reason to rush. And, I hope you come here for support if you feel the need. I don't know what I would have done without the support of the wonderful people on this website when I lost my beloved terrier, Betsy, almost four months ago. I still cry for her each night as I fall asleep, but I know I made the right decision to end her suffering. Hugs, Melissa Betsy's forever mom
Registered: 1192815206 Posts: 1,199
The disbelief stage is different for everybody. I still have moments when I cannot believe my Blackie is gone. Like your MK, my Blackie had kidney disease. I gave him his Sub-Q fluids at home. About a week or so before he died I had received a new shipment of his fluid supplies - bags of fluids, lines, needles. And the weekend before he died I had gone to the various pet stores to purchase the prescription and senior foods he ate. So I have a lot of Sub-Q fluid supplies and a lot of his food still sitting in my home, some of which I have not put away and are still sitting in the bags and boxes they were in when I brought them home. I have put some of Blackie's items in a pine memory box/blanket chest that I am going to decorate in his honor. I've put the blanket I made for him in the memory box along with some of his toys, his sleeping pad, his food and water bowls, and the little scratching pad he loved so much. His bed and one of his other blankets are still sitting out in my home for my other cats to use. HIs medicine is still sitting in its little ziploc bag in my refrigerator. I have not yet taken down the half-filled bag of Sub-Q fluids that is still hanging from one of the shower hooks in my bathroom, nor have I put away the last package of Sub-Q needles I opened before he died. I was actually looking at them this morning and thinking perhaps it is time to take them down. But I quickly rejected that idea because then I would really have to face the finality that he is dead, that he is never coming back home to me. Just so you know, I did not choose burial or cremation when Blackie died, I chose pet taxidermy. I sent Blackie's body off to the pet taxidermy place a few weeks ago and they started "working" on my Blackie's body a little over 2 weeks ago. They say it will be anywhere from 4-6 months before they are finished, maybe more, maybe less. But I do know that right now I am just going through the motions and am simply getting through the days, some of which are dreadfully long and painful, others of which are one big foggy memory. I suppose by choosing pet taxidermy I am prolonging or perhaps even avoiding the disbelief stage. I mean, I know my Blackie is dead but I haven't yet gone through the shock others do when they bury their pets or get their pet's ashes back. So I think by having to wait however long it is until BLackie's body is returned to me, I am in a way denying the true reality and finality of his death, especially with how I have kept some of this things displayed in the house the way they were before he died, things such as his Sub-Q fluids bag, line and unused needles. I am really dreading the day when I finally take down Blackie's half-used Sub-Q fluid bag and put away the unused needles & medicine as well as his bed, blankets and any of his other items that are lying around the house. I think that will be the day I finally face the reality and finality of my beloved's death and that is something I just don't want to do. It is so hard to belive he has died and that he has been dead for a touch over 5 weeks. I guess I am in full denial that he is dead, but he meant so much to me that it is agony for me to face the full reality that we are apart. And I guess keeping some of his things strewn about the house is one way I have of coping with his absence. They do bring me some comfort, but it pales in comparison to the comfort I would have if he was not dead and was still alive and with me here on earth. Kelly Blackie's forever mom
Registered: 1209600183 Posts: 14
First let me say that I am very sorry for the loss of M.K. Yesterday I had my little dog Sam PTS and I know how it hurts. 4 years ago I had 3 dogs that all went to the Bridge within months of each other.
There is no timetable for grief. It is comforting to look at our pet's bowls and things in their familiar places; for me it gives a sense that a part of Sam is still here; I haven't removed anything, only returned her meds to the vet. I completely understand how you feel about your kitty's stuff. In time you will be ready to sort through everything. When I lost my 3 dogs in 2004 and the time was right, I donated their beds and leftover food to a local animal shelter (at the time I thought I wouldn't get another pet - then a few months later we got Sam!). Any medications I had I returned to the vet's office. There are some things I won't give up (dog tags, a special toy). 8 days isn't a very long time; don't feel like you *should* be doing something that you're not ready to do.
Registered: 1172296231 Posts: 1,093
I am so sorry for the loss of your kitty, M.K. But, please, do give yourself whatever time you need. There is no need to rush into anything, especially not right now. I lost Molly over one year ago (last February 18th) and I still have some things of hers out. It took me forever to put her dishes away, and her meds were on the kitchen counter for months. My daughter, actually, came over to clean up one day while I was at work, and she moved the meds into the cabinet. Molly's coat and halter and leash are still hanging right by the front door, and I think they will be hanging there forever. I think whatever you feel is best for you is what you should stick with. Maybe it will just feel "right" one day to move things. Or maybe not. Whatever, it is okay, and it is as it should be.
You may, eventually, want to consider donating the toys and trees to a rescue group - or to a shelter, in M.K.'s name? Or to someone with a kitty who does not have these things? Or, you may decide one day to get another kitty to love. Of course, never to take the place of M.K., which is impossible, but one that needs some love too.
I am so sorry. Your love for M.K. is apparent in your post about her, and the many toys were surely appreciated by her! Please hold the love you shared close to your heart, and know M.K. will always be right by your side, even though she is gone physically. The spirit continues and there is nothing that can end that...
Hugs to you,
Registered: 1200561771 Posts: 251
Hi there Raven,
I agree with everyone, there is no set timetable with grief. Take your time and don't let anyone tell you to put things away or to get over it. YOur baby was your everything! It has been 4 months since my Nugget went to the Bridge. As soon as I got home from the vet I put away his water bowls and food bowls, but that is it. I think I did that then because I was in such shock. Now I can't bring myself to put away his bed and blankets, I still sleep with his coat as although it was washed, there is still his fur on it. I haven't thrown away any of his food or meds...I just can't do it..he had his own cupboard with all his things in it, I can't even open it. Anyway sweetie, you take your time...it is nice to have reminders. It is so final otherwise. I find seeing his things quite comforting. A big cuddle to you, Nuggetsmum Alana
Registered: 1203545512 Posts: 70
Yes, everyone here is right. Take your time and you will know when the time is right for you to put your baby's things away.
I let my other kitties play with Tuffy's toys and lay on his fleece mat after he passed away. But he had a special little orange stuffed bone, really a dog toy, that he slept with when he was just a wee newborn. He later played with it and sometimes slept on it still. I decided not to let anyone else have that, and just put it upstairs to remind me of Tuffy.
Registered: 1200304358 Posts: 71
MK, what you're going through is perfectly normal. The shock and disbelief can last for several weeks. You asked what people do with their pets' things, well, when my kitty died I couldn't bear to move any of his stuff, his placemat, his carpeted play tower, his box in the closet where he slept, his catnip toys, his medicine, the tissue paper he liked to play on. After a week I put all his stuff in his napping box, and I gathered up all his long beautiful fur and put it in a tiny ziploc bag and I carry it around in my wallet so he can always be with me.
It's been ten months since he died, and all of his stuff is sitting in a memorial area in the guest room, as well as his ashes in a little velvet bag. I think on his one year anniversary I'll bury his ashes, but I really don't know what to do with his other things, It seems wrong to put them all away in a closet. I will probably give away his cat tower on Craigslist so some other kitty can enjoy playing on it.
Registered: 1172131641 Posts: 190
I am so very sorry for the loss of MK. In time you will know what is right. If you decide not to keep the items for a future pet or just for the memories, I would suggest donating them.
As for my own personal experience, I actually kept very few items. We lost Jade last year, and she was a 10yr old golden/chow mix. We kept her collar, and used for our other dog, Orpheus, until Emma chewed it right off him. I kept her name tag, a paw print, pictures and the ID tag from her ashes, and her death certificate. That is it. Everything else had to go immediately. To this day, I don't reqret getting rid of her items. It is what I needed to, and I have what I need - her memories. Hugs, Daun
Registered: 1205715660 Posts: 763
Dear MK, I am so sorry for your loss. Your pain is still so new. Of course you are in denial. I lost my Mr. Meowgy 9 weeks ago today and I still don't believe it. I saved lots of Mr. Meowgy's things. I even saved a few pieces of cat food from his breakfast the morning he passed. His last meal. Fortunately I found some of his fur in the brush I used to brush him with. I have some in a beautiful locket. I saved his used and unused syringes. I have pictures all around. It is comforting to me to have these things visible.
There is no rush to get rid of MK's things. If it helps you, keep anything and everything you want, and for as long as you want. What you are feeling is perfectly normal, don't worry. Donna, Mr. Meowgy's mom
Registered: 1210124003 Posts: 3
Thank you so much for all of your support. Everyone is so wonderful here. It is a huge comfort to be able to connect with people who feel the same way about their animals.
After reading all the replies I feel relieved. I don't worry about moving any of her stuff right now. I used to walk past the food and water dishes and not be able to look at them because I didnt know if it was ok to have them still there but now I feel like I will know when its time to move them. The same way I knew when it was her time to go. I guess you do "just know". I'm keeping the kitty tower forever because one day I will get another cat. I am going to keep all her toys. She was persian so there is TONS of her fur everywhere in the house. I was considering getting one of those pendants that holds ashes that you can wear but then I thought if by some chance I ever lost it I would destroy me. I am going to return her syringes to the vet and her medicines. She had some eyedrops from a previous condition and those are still in the fridge and will be forever. When its time to move them, I will keep the bottle with her name on it. My vet actually called me today to tell me that her ashes were ready. I am not ready for that. That is way to final. I told her I would pick them up on Monday but that will be hard because although I have lost pets before I have never picked up ashes. I fear the pain of that. I know how much it hurt before and immediately after I lost her. When the vet tech called me she said "She's here and ready to be picked up." That made me flinch because no, she's not there. And for a split second I was taken back to when she was actually there and ready to come home. It is not the same, it is not "her". I love that little girl so much.
Registered: 1205715660 Posts: 763
Hi MK, I hope you are doing well. I think, in time you will find it comforting to have MK's ashes at home and near you. You can visit with her, talk to her or sing to her. You can tell her about your day. I visit my beloved Mr. Meowgy every night before I go to bed (he is in our yard) and I truly am comforted. I wish you peace and comfort. Donna, Mr. Meowgy's mom